White Wolf Wrestling grabbed the headlines this month when Dave Meltzer awarded one of their matches five stars. But who, exactly, are the Madrid-based promotion, and how are they changing the wrestling business?
April 14, 2018, six days after the biggest wrestling event on the planet took place in New Orleans, wrestling fans crowded the streets of Lavapies in Madrid, desperately hoping to secure entry to an old abandoned tobacco factory to witness their very own promotion’s version of WrestleMania.
Little did those fans know, as they stood in line drinking cheap beers brought from men in the streets, that they were about to witness the first ever five-star wrestling match wrestled on Spanish soil.
The match in question pitted White Wolf Wrestling’s hottest young star, A-Kid, against Zack Sabre Jr, one of the most technically gifted performers on the planet, in the main event of ‘Total Rumble 8’.
It would take nearly six months for the match to grab the attention it deserved. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer addressed the match’s quality in a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON), encouraging fans around the world to tune in to the promotion’s YouTube channel and check it out themselves.
And check it out they did.
The video quickly became the channel’s most viewed video of all time and instantly made “White Wolf Wrestling” one of the hottest buzzwords in the Internet Wrestling Community.
A-Kid, the star of the match, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, though. “I rarely get very excited about anything, I’m just very calm and this was no exception,” he told us in a recent interview.
He did, however, heap the praise on his opponent, telling us “It was amazing. Honestly my favourite time inside a ring. I had been studying him for years and that was the first time I showed the crowd I could do technical.”
Judging from the match itself, which is available for free on the channel’s YouTube channel, it’s tough to fathom that A-Kid hadn’t worked a technical match before; the Madrid born superstar is a natural, and he and Zack worked one of the most technically-competent encounters of 2018.
Zack Sabre Jr spoke to us about the match, also highlighting A-Kid’s exceptional talent as a technical performer, saying, “He’s one of the most natural technical wrestlers I’ve seen in a long time and it’s equally terrifying and depressing to think of how much potential he has. We’re a generation apart but I felt a real connection to him in that match.”
One thing that anybody who has watched the match will tell you, though, is just how hot White Wolf Wrestling’s live crowd is.
I was there that day, and let me tell you, they were one of the most uniquely passionate crowds I have ever had the chance of being a part of.
This doesn’t go unrecognised by the promotion’s CEO Ramon Silva, who told me that the crowd is the “key to White Wolf’s success” before going on to explain ‘. I think that from the first day we have been very close and we have opened the door to anyone who wants to come and enjoy watching our show. Each show they come to give it everything and is our biggest motivation. The audience in Madrid is very passionate and although there are not as many fans of wrestling as in other countries they live every show 100%.’
This passion has become infectious, and the promotion is set to do their first-ever paid show in December ‘La hora de la verdad” or ‘The Moment of Truth’ in English. This is a huge step forward for the promotion who, until now, have offered all of their shows free to their audience.
This has been something that few promotions would have been brave enough to do, especially as they continued to grow in popularity. Queues for White Wolf Wrestling events often lined the streets, creating a human traffic jam in whatever neighbourhood they were in, with fans from all over Spain queuing up in an attempt to gain entry. The company could have begun charging a long time ago, and one senses that the decision to charge for their next event comes from sheer financial need, as opposed to greed.
White Wolf, perhaps like PROGRESS in the United Kingdom, prides itself on its DIY attitude and its die-hard, locally-sourced fanbase. The crowd and the performers seem perfectly in sync, and, as it should be in any performance, they thrive off one another.
“They help you because they know it is going to enhance the whole product,” A-Kid told me, and that support was tangible throughout the whole show.
The company have also developed an incredibly unique aesthetic through their choice of venues. Total Rumble 8 took place in La Tabacalera de Lavapies, an old abandoned tobacco factory in one of the city’s most diverse and exciting neighbourhoods. The venue is an essential part of the local art scene, often hosting visual arts and photography events, and the venues have become such a huge part of the company’s image.
This didn’t go amiss with Zack Sabre Jr, who was clearly charmed by the whole experience, telling us, “I think the aesthetic and environment of the venue go hand in hand with creating the atmosphere. It’s genuinely grassroots Professional Wrestling. And it’s the kind of the climate that wrestling should be intertwined with. We have a natural place alongside the art and music scene, and in 2018 more than ever wrestling is proving that it’s a universal entertainment that unites people from all walks of life together.”
The penultimate match at the aforementioned Total Rumble 8 event is another prime example of this unique connection the company shares with their audience. It was a triple threat encounter which featured three local performers who immediately defied what I personally have come to expect from wrestling shows. One of the performers, a man who, as far as I could see, had been operating the bar area all night, climbed through the crowd, throwing beers to random members of the audience before chugging down a considerable amount of Jagermeister and then getting into the ring.
While the amount drank would have been enough to render a normal man inebriated, the performer was undeterred and went about putting on one of the finest big-man performances I can remember seeing in some time. He flew around the ring like Samoa Joe on Mountain Dew and whipped the live audience into a frenzy. This experience stuck with me and, more than perhaps anything else, captured the anarchic and unique nature of a White Wolf Wrestling show.
Like a lot of independent promotions, White Wolf Wrestling prides itself on its use of local talent, and while they may have attracted some big name stars over the last few years, the company has remained true to its roots.
During the weekdays it operates as a training centre for local talent, with A-Kid and Carlos Romo now operating as their head coaches. White Wolf told me that 90% of their talent is locally sourced and trained there, and it would appear that this has been one of the reasons why the promotion has managed to create such a unique relationship with their audience. This is something that will be essential to building the wrestling scene in Spain.
Zack Sabre Jr noted, “All the local wrestlers were treated like stars in their own right, from their entrance music to the actual bouts themselves. That’s the foundation where can you really nurture your own scene.”
So what does the future hold for White Wolf Wrestling and its big stars? The company themselves remain level-headed, with Silva telling me, “We still have a long way to go. We are on the right path but we are ambitious and we want to continue improving and growing. We are working so that every wrestling fan can follow our shows on our OnDemand, improving the shows and the quality of our matches.’”
A-Kid shares a similar vision for the company, “I want Whitewolf to be everywhere. Now that our On-demand service is available and very cheap, I hope more people get to enjoy our product.”
It’s a simple request and one that people who support indie wrestling should pay some attention to. White Wolf Wrestling, or La Triple W as it is otherwise known, is one of the hottest little promotions in Europe right, and it is one more than deserving of a few euros once a month.
Above all else, White Wolf Wrestling is a beautiful example of grassroots wrestling done right. Not only is it a company striving to better itself and improve the careers of its stars, but it is also a promotion that is doing its utmost to bring a community together and create an exciting and innovative product for its fanbase.
And that is exactly wrestling should be about.
Thank you to Zack Sabre Jr, A-Kid, and Ramon Silva, CEO of White Wolf Wrestling, for all of their help in putting together this article.
You can check out White Wolf on Facebook here.